Keeping Clean

I had a heck of a time coming up with todays post, life, the universe, and everything conspired against this post coming out at all today.

Todays topic is keeping a work site clean. Today I had the pleasure of cutting into some decking, a 40+ year old walkway that was originally cement over wood. Sadly the steel railing’s base was installed under the cement. Being a light weight cement it compressed and was ground out by the railing post which necessitated a repair.

At the time the repairs were made a section of the cement was cut back significantly and the void was filled with a hard composite, then the whole surface was covered with a coat of matte fiberglass and polyester resin. Since the repair was made, I’m guessing 20+ years ago, the cement has continued to deteriorate due to compression and moisture passing under the composite. The steel railing of course has some serious rust issues.

My task was to remove the rusted areas of the railing foot and weld on a replacement and button that puppy up. I cut into the composite/cement mess with a 4.5″ mineral wheel on my die grinder. The tool works fine for the job,but oy, what a mess of rubble and dust. This is where the clean work site comes in, with so much dust and chipped debris piling up I ended up developing a close relationship with my new 4 gallon Shop-Vac wet/dry vacuum. The area I was working on is only 12″ x 24″ but chipped cement and composits can make a huge mess.

To make clean up a simple affair I would chip out a 4 to 6 square inch area and then clean up repeating the process over and over. I would spend a minute or two each time I cleaned and then get back to chipping the old materials away. I was able to clear the space in relatively short order and at the end, I spent only 5 minutes of actual cleaning. More importantly, my work space though in a public area, did not inconvenience anyone. The dust was kept down buy the frequent stops to tidy the area and the chances of flying debris from kick-back were nearly eliminated. Another safety benefit was the constant removal of rusty materials that presented an additional health and safety hazard.

The point here is that keeping the work space clean and clear of debris is a mater of safety as well making it a lot easier wrap up when you are done.

Thats the end of my High School shop class lecture.

Till next time,